al·loy | \ˈa-ˌlȯi also ə-ˈlȯi \

Definition of alloy 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the degree of mixture with base metals : fineness

2 : a substance composed of two or more metals or of a metal and a nonmetal intimately united usually by being fused together and dissolving in each other when molten also : the state of union of the components

3a : an admixture that lessens value

b : an impairing alien element

4 : a compound, mixture, or union of different things an ethnic alloy of many peoples

5 archaic : a metal mixed with a more valuable metal to give durability or some other desired quality


al·loy | \ə-ˈlȯi also ˈa-ˌlȯi \
alloyed; alloying; alloys

Definition of alloy (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : temper, moderate

b : to impair or debase by admixture

2 : to reduce the purity of by mixing with a less valuable metal

3 : to mix so as to form an alloy

intransitive verb

: to lend itself to being alloyed iron alloys well

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Examples of alloy in a Sentence


testing the properties of various alloys a part made of aluminum alloy

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The aluminum alloys or composite material used for the wings are designed to withstand being exposed to the elements, and the large surface area would require many gallons of paint, adding substantially to the weight of the airplane. John Cox, USA TODAY, "Ask the Captain: All about airline paint jobs," 3 June 2018 To our ancestors, this exotic alloy must have seemed like it was sent by entities beyond our understanding. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 This includes the integration of new high-tech composites and alloys that each have unique requirements during the manufacturing process. Eric Adams, WIRED, "Four Reasons We Don’t Have Flying Cars—Yet," 15 June 2018 No facility exists to build a composite boat of this size -- although plenty of shipyards can build boats of this size in steel or alloy -- but Carkeek is confident his build partners will develop one soon. Rob Hodgetts, CNN, "Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom pioneers electric racing yacht," 7 May 2018 Enclave is longer, narrower, lower, and lighter by 350 pounds, due to the use of high-strength steel and alloys. Emma Jayne Williams, star-telegram, "Buick redesigns the Enclave crossover for 2018, adding high-end Avenir trim | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 21 Apr. 2018 Made of a copper-silicon alloy, the navigational aids can fetch hundreds of dollars for scrap. David Abel,, "Someone is stealing bells and gongs from buoys in Maine," 25 June 2018 Peshkin’s mother, Klavdia Logvinskaya, worked herself up from lab technician to engineer, researching additives that influence the properties of metal alloys. Karen Weintraub,, "A doctor wages personal and professional battles against aging," 23 June 2018 The iron-nickel alloy was supple and easily hammered into shape without breaking. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Automakers are making nearly continuous improvements to vehicle engines and structures by alloying their steels with an evolving list of special ingredients such as manganese, titanium, chromium, and nickel. Bengt Halvorson, Car and Driver, "Toyota’s New Electric Motor Cuts Need for Costly (and Overwhelmingly China-Sourced) Rare-Earth Metal," 27 Feb. 2018 The light gray or whitish metal can be alloyed with steel to form materials that are stable at high temperatures. Thomas Biesheuvel,, "China Sends One of the West’s Most Critical Materials Soaring," 11 Sep. 2017 Anger and anguish alloyed to reveal a deep, familiar frustration. Bill Oram, Orange County Register, "Clippers one game away from offseason after 96-92 Game 5 loss to Jazz," 25 Apr. 2017 Yttrium and neodymium are alloyed to make the magnets in turbines for windmills. Nelson Ching, National Geographic, "How Acid—and Bacteria—Could Make Recycling Your Phone Greener," 10 June 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alloy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of alloy


1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1625, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for alloy


French aloi, from Old French alei, from aleir to combine, from Latin alligare to bind — more at ally

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Statistics for alloy

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alloy

The first known use of alloy was in 1593

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More Definitions for alloy



English Language Learners Definition of alloy

: a metal made by melting and mixing two or more metals or a metal and another material together


al·loy | \ˈa-ˌlȯi, ə-ˈlȯi\

Kids Definition of alloy

: a substance made of two or more metals melted together Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.


al·loy | \ˈal-ˌȯi, ə-ˈlȯi \

Medical Definition of alloy 

1 : the degree of mixture with base metals

2 : a substance composed of two or more metals or of a metal and a nonmetal intimately united usually by being fused together and dissolving in each other when molten also : the state of union of the components

Other Words from alloy

alloy \ə-ˈlȯi, ˈal-ˌȯi \ transitive verb

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Comments on alloy

What made you want to look up alloy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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